Is the XFL really going to happen?

by Mike Mitchell @MikeMitchellXFL

This is a question that I am sure that many followers of the XFL, have been asking themselves since Vince McMahon announced the XFL’s return on January 25th of last year. Personally, I still can’t believe that the XFL is returning. It still doesn’t seem real. The history of proposed launches and relaunches of leagues is not a good one.

The first quarter of this year is a crucial period that could help determine whether the XFL starts off on the right note. A lot of what transpires in these first three months will help determine whether or not, The XFL is going to have lasting power. There is even doubt by some that the league will be able to launch come February of 2020. Recent history shows that simply getting to the field and playing games is not a given.

As chronicled here at XFLBoard in recent articles. There are several hurdles for the XFL in building and launching their league. From the financial aspects to getting players, coaches and business partners to commit. Just starting up a pro football league is very challenging. Let alone having it be a success. Since version 1.0 of the XFL faded in 2001. There have been so many proposed leagues that failed to even take the field. Too many to mention but let’s look at a few.

On several occasions, the ‘new USFL’ was supposed to launch. Businessman and former NFL players were a part of the potential relaunch. They had a new league logo, proposed team locations and nothing ever came of it. The Spring League of American Football has pushed back their launch for several years now. Headed by TV executives, the SAFL has launched a website but nothing else. The North American Football League had team names and cities announced. Their owners didn’t even show up for open tryouts and they were arrested for allegedly defrauding potential investors. They were supposed to launch in 2016. Back in 2007, there was the All American Football League. Very few even remember it. This was a 6 team league with no team nicknames. Just teams labeled as “Team Texas” and “Team Florida.” The plan was to be a college like league with territorial designations. The league was started by former NCAA president Cedric Dempsey. The AAFL even got to the point of having their inaugural draft. Several former NFL players signed on like Peter Warrick. “He Hate Me” Rod Smart was slated to play for Team Tennessee at Neyland Stadium. Coaching staffs were established, as were all the teams playing locations. The AAFL never got their TV deal, the league was postponed for thre straight years before eventually fading into darkness and ceasing operations.

So much time is spent about these leagues getting to the finish line, when just getting to the field has been an issue. Even leagues like The UFL, that did get to the starting line, had to reshuffle and change their plans just to get there. 2009 was supposed to be that league’s big launch. An 8 team 20 million dollar cap with a lengthy schedule turned into a soft launch 4 team league with a shortened schedule. Credit to them for still pushing forward and trying to build as time went on, but that building started crumbling before the foundation was even laid.

Even as someone who has supported and covered the XFL in 2001 and now in 2019. I am cautiously optimistic but borderline skeptical. The XFL has great financial backing and a world class commissioner at the helm in Oliver Luck. Someone who has great experience in launching teams and running leagues. The XFL has hired a scouting department and they have staffed some key roles for the league. Cities have been announced in world class markets with top notch stadiums.

The league appears to be on the right path, but with a year until games presumably kick off on Saturday February 8th 2020. The heavy lifting starts now, in what has been labeled as the XFL’s 2019 Preseason. There is time but the clock is ticking. Certain things need to happen before this league can become a reality.

The first major sign of the XFL becoming a reality is their yet to be announced TV rights deal. When the league was officially announced as returning by Vince McMahon last January. The thought was that the XFL would struggle to find the type of TV partner, that they had back in 2001 when NBC became their 50-50 partner. The thought going around was that the relaunched XFL would follow the streaming model with a potential cable partner. The feeling amongst many was that the XFL wouldn’t be able to do better than that.

In recent interviews, XFL commissioner Oliver Luck has left the impression that the league is in negotiations with legacy carriers that broadcast NFL games. A rights package deal is supposed to be announced in the first quarter of 2019. Which means that there should be something announced in the next month, but until there is, the skepticism remains alive. A TV deal will not only net the league the necessary exposure it needs to survive, but it will be a selling point for fans, potential viewers, players, coaches, advertisers and potential business partners. If the league does not get a quality distribution deal, then it will struggle to get people to buy into their league.

There was some talk by Oliver Luck of a potential TV deal being announced before the end of 2018. Like the XFL City situation, the locations were slated to be announced in the fall and technically it was, they were announced in the fall on December 5th but a lot later than people anticipated. It took 11 months for the league to get to that point from the relaunch announcement to city reveals. It simply can’t take that long for the next wave of league goals, if it does, there will be delays that could halt the launch in 2020, or at the bare minimum affect the quality of the league’s play when they do eventually launch.

Can the XFL proceed to the other important hires before netting a TV rights deal? The league’s cities have been announced but there is still the matter of creating the infrastructure for each team. The league has yet to hire team presidents and employees for each XFL City. This will be crucial in establishing themselves in all eight XFL markets. Right now, fans can make season ticket deposits at XFL.com, but the league is a long way from setting schedules, marketing and advertising locally without actual team operations staffs.

The city offices are a boring subject but it’s vital for getting off the ground running. The XFL is not there yet. Then there is the matter of team branding. A crucial element towards building up anticipation and interest for the league. The new XFL has to get this right but it’s more of a superficial thing right now. It’s just as important as these other matters in the first quarter of 2019 but it won’t mean anything if the other goals are not met.

The sexy part of team building is hiring head coaches, putting together coaching staffs and then signing quarterbacks to league contracts. This is what has been earmarked as the first goals for the XFL in the 1st quarter of this year. That means that by the end of March, all of this should be completed.

As we approach mid-January, the coaching carousels are almost done spinning in the NFL and in college football. Staffs are being finalized. There will be a number of coaches out there looking for work. Getting these coaches to commit to your league will not be an easy sell. Depending on the quality of the coaches, retaining them will also be a challenge. As evidenced by the recent happenings in The Alliance of American Football. With just a few weeks before their season is set to begin. Atlanta Legends coach Brad Childress has stepped down, Arizona Hotshots Offensive Coordinator Hugh Freeze left for a head coaching job at Liberty and Memphis Express OC Hal Mumme bailed on his job. It’s not enough to get these coaches to sign on, you need them to make a serious commitment. In turn, coaches will only commit to the XFL if they see it as being serious.

Quarterback commitments will be tough as well. The biggest selling point of the league in terms of their quality of play mission statement, is their announced 300 thousand dollars a season salary for their premiere Quarterbacks. A far cry from their 45k a season salaries back in 2001. It sounds great in theory but which quarterbacks are going to commit to signing on with the XFL in 2019, and then hold off on going to any other league until after the 2020 XFL season ends. Like the issue with head coaches, a strong commitment will be needed. You are asking a potential star QB to sit out the 2019 NFL, CFL or AAF seasons and to stay under contract and wait till the XFL season starts in February and then ends in May, before potentially exploring other opportunities.

As of mid-January, there are so many questions that are left unanswered right now with the XFL. Hopefully as fans and supporters, the blanks will start getting filled in in the coming weeks.

Gambling in and on the XFL

by Mike Mitchell @MikeMitchellXFL

There will come a day when sports gambling is as regular as buying a lottery ticket. The legalization of sports gambling will have huge ramifications on the economy and the business models of all sports leagues. That day hasn’t arrived yet but we are getting closer to it.

Several sports leagues are positioning themselves upfront and behind the scenes, waiting to reap all the benefits headed their way. All sports have benefited from gambling for ages, but no sport has drawn more gamblers to their games than the sport of football. For so long, gambling has been such a taboo subject. It’s been treated as a criminal activity that potentially compromises the integrity of your league. Yet it can be argued that the monster that is the NFL, was created by illegal gambling on games. Millions of people watch NFL games with something personally at stake. One can only imagine how much more money and interest can be created for games when sports gambling is fully legalized and accessible for all. It may draw in even more viewers if casual fans can simply place a bet from home on any game or team they want to.

The XFL and other fledgling leagues have openly talked about gambling and have stressed that it will be a huge part of the draw to their leagues. With phone apps that are designed and focused on gambling and fantasy football. The idea is that it will enable fans to gamble on every single play with a simple click on their phones. In 2019, the landscape for sports wagering is not quite clear. There are several states where you can’t gamble and some where you can only gamble on your phone if you are in a legalized state or at specific resorts. There are ways of working around this for all gamblers, but in order for a league to benefit at full potential, the legalization of it will be key.

Starting up in 2020, like the XFL is, may benefit them. Oliver Luck even mentioned gambling and the timeline of 2020 as being beneficial in the league’s city announcement press conference back on December 5th.

As of January 2019, Full scale legalized sports betting is only available currently in 8 states. New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Mississippi, and West Virginia. New Jersey can be thanked for getting the ball rolling on this one. Their supreme court victory opened the door for states to legalize gambling if they wish to do so. The Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Several members from both parties of the United States Congress are pushing for legalized gambling.

Both proposed spring pro football leagues have currently only 1 team that has legalized gambling in it’s state. The New York XFL franchise which plays in New Jersey. New York is on deck with 4 legalized gambling site locations and a bill that is supposed to be re-introduced in 2019 to fully legalize gambling statewide. Las Vegas is the home of the AAF’s first two championship games and gambling has been legal in that state for more than half a century. What about all the other markets in these leagues?

There are several states on the waiting deck, looking to get sports betting legalized.

On December 18th, the nation’s capital Washington, D.C. legalized sports betting. The DC council voted 10-2 in favor of it. Emergency legislation was passed making the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act effective immediately. The states lottery is working on regulations and infrastructure. There is a catch to this. The new law allows for a single app model that will give DC a monopoly on sports betting in the District of Columbia. Sports betting organizations are happy that sports betting has been legalized but they feel that the single-app model is a major cause for concern. Either way, this bodes well for the XFL’s D.C. franchise. How gambling profits are divided are an issue but gambling in DC creates more interest and fan involvement. The state of Arkansas also had a sports wagering bill passed, similar to DC.

California has a voter referendum set up for 2020 as a built-in initiative. The state does have 60 tribal casinos where it is legal to gamble on games. This could play a factor in the XFL’s Los Angeles franchise. As well as the AAF’s San Diego franchise but the 2020 timeline makes year one for San Diego an impossibility.

The state of Missouri is currently in a holding pattern. The Show Me state has six bills regarding sports wagering currently in the works. Bills have been introduced to expand beyond their licensed riverboat casinos and daily fantasy companies. Legislative hearings have taken place but the bill hasn’t advanced past the committee stage at this point.

The other states where bills have or are expected to be introduced are Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. By 2020, many of these states may legalize sports wagering.

There are 19 states that have laws that prohibit full blown sports betting. No bills have been publicly announced or introduced or devoted to sports betting legalization. The states are some key football states with teams in the XFL and the AAF. The states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington State, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Utah’s anti gambling stance is written into the state’s constitution. It remains to be seen if any changes are made to an existing state policy in the future. It certainly doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to happening.

Football hot beds like Florida, Alabama and Texas seem to be in a holding pattern. Florida has plenty of Indian casinos, but the general assembly has made no move to legalize sports betting. Alabama has had no discussions among their lawmakers about sports betting. Texas is surprisingly in the same boat. They would be one of the biggest gaming states in the nation but no law makers have been championing it.

By 2020, it’s safe to assume that many new states will have legalized sports gambling. It could be more than half the countries states. How successful the current legalized states are, will help determine that. There are a few law makers who feel that states will lose money like Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts. If the current legalized states dispel that notion and create financial windfalls for their states. That could change a state’s stance on sports wagering. Other naysayers in government are against it from a morality standpoint, while others feel that gambling will be too difficult to regulate properly. There are certainly hurdles to overcome in 2019 but by 2020, the picture should become clearer.

There is no doubt that XFL founder Vince McMahon is putting all of his chips in the middle of the table with his financial commitment of over 500 million dollars. The league is banking on a TV rights/streaming deal that will net them exposure and create multiple revenue streams. However, their best bet may be on the sports gambling landscape by 2020.

The challenges in improving the quality of play in the XFL

By Mike Mitchell @MikeMitchellXFL

According to The NCAA. 16,236 college football players were eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft. Only 253 of those players were drafted. Nearly a hundred undrafted college football players made an NFL roster, most of them by way of the league’s 32 practice squads. That means that over 15,000 college football players didn’t get the opportunity to become pros. Of the over 16,000 players, only 1.6 percent made an NFL roster. When the NCAA study counted the CFL and even Arena league, that number jumped up to only 1.9 percent.

College football has improved immensely in the last two decades. There was a time when playing a college styled offense was foreign and not suitable for the pros. In 2019, NFL teams have adopted so many offensive concepts from college football. The college game is more adaptable to the pros, than it ever was but the number of player job openings remains the same.

Counting all the divisions, there are over 800 college football programs and counting. Division 1 alone has 130 college football teams. 85 player rosters per team, of which about 55 suit-up every week. That’s a massive amount of football players. 11,050 in total.

There’s another side to this equation. With over 300 college players making the NFL every year. That 1.6 percent ends up taking over 300 NFL jobs. Which in turn, leads to current NFL players losing their roster spots. Over 300 of them to be exact every single year. The guys who usually lose their roster spots to rookies are for the most part, young NFL players who don’t see their second contract. That’s one of the reasons that an average NFL players career is listed as only 3 or 4 years. People will point to injuries and they play a part for sure but the simple math tells you this…. 300 rookies making NFL rosters every year leads to 300 vets losing their spots to those rookies.

With all these numbers, it would seem to favor the idea of a second pro football league being able to field quality teams with quality football players. It’s the biggest selling point for XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck in all of his interviews. One of the biggest knocks against the original XFL was their quality of play. There’s always been valid criticism of the original XFL’s rushed environment in which they fielded teams, having only a month-long training camp, of which the AAF is implementing this month in Texas for their February launch.

While the original XFL’s pay scale was higher than that of the Arena League and CFL at the time in 2001, it still wasn’t high enough to attract premium players to their league. The stereotype with most non-NFL leagues is that they are filled with NFL castoffs, never-weres and NFL wannabes. Alternate football leagues have a really hard time shaking that perception to the average fan. The XFL probably has the steepest hill to climb in attempting to sway that perception.

The 2020 pay scale of XFL players is better than it was in 2001, with premium players being paid a reported 250 to 300k per season. However, the alternate football landscape has changed greatly since 2001.

If the XFL had the market to themselves, they could have free reign of all the eligible pro football players on the planet. The goal being to find the players who are good enough to play or start in the NFL but just haven’t gotten the opportunity to do so. That’s the goal with their current scouting department, Optimum run by Eric Galko, is to find the diamonds in the rough who should be pro football players.

The current XFL doesn’t have the game all to itself this time. The Arena league is not the factor it was, even back in 2001. That league has been scaled down greatly but the AAF and CFL are direct competitors for the “other players” available on the open market.

The CFL’s pay scale has gone up considerably in the last two decades. The majority of their star quarterbacks make over 500k a season (Canadian), which equates to about 373 thousand American. In 2002, Edmonton Eskimos Quarterback Ricky Ray was delivering Frito Lay potato chips for $43,000 a year US. That’s more than he made playing QB for Edmonton that year. Ray eventually saw his salary rise to the 400k range and above over time.

The average CFL player still makes about anywhere from 60-80k per year, depending on bonuses. That’s for a 19-game schedule, not counting the preseason and playoffs. The majority of CFL players are not Canadian. So there’s stiil the draw of playing in the states. The CFL is also contending with a potential labor dispute later this spring but cooler heads may prevail in that one.

The AAF is a bigger threat to the XFL’s quality of play. Bill Polian has used his CFL background wisely in structuring the AAF’s contracted players. They have currently 600 players under contract. By February, that number will be whittled down to over 400. So, the AAF got the jump on the “others”. The contracts are set up to be 3 year deals worth 250,000. (Non-guaranteed). That’s if a player makes it to the third year. The base salary in 2019 is supposed to be 50k with a chance to make more based on incentives. There’s also health insurance and an education stipend for players. Where Polian’s genius and CFL background comes into play is the 3-year restriction, that prohibits players under AAF contracts from exploring opportunities in non-NFL leagues. (The XFL). The CFL has had a similar structure in place for awhile. Up until recently, most CFL players were all signed on to 2-year deals. The only out was allowing players to explore NFL opportunities. Which the CFL has been doing in recent weeks. This is how you get players to sign with your league. The UFL made the mistake of trying to charge NFL teams over $100,000 per each UFL player they signed. The move backfired and hurt the league’s chances of signing developmental players.

The Alliance has also positioned themselves under Polian, as being a potential feeder system to the NFL in the future. It’s a way of enticing players to choose their league over the XFL, CFL and any other spring league that comes out of a haze of Ricky Williams smoke cloud.

The NFL also presents a challenge to the XFL’s pursuit in signing secondary football players off of the market. During an NFL season, there are 2,106 total players on their 32 overall rosters. 53 man rosters with 10 player practice squads. As soon as the NFL regular season ends, the 63 player rosters expand to 90 players per team. Street free agents are signed to NFL future contracts. That has started taking place already this week. So, players under NFL contract at seasons end will expand from 2,016 to 2,880. That means that 864 football players who were not under contract with the AAF and that were available, have now signed on to NFL rosters for the off-season.

Not all of the 864 signed players will stick on NFL rosters. Some may not make it through free agency and the draft when teams add new players but it puts some of the XFL’s potential targets like for example QB Joe Callahan who signed with the Bucs or even WR Tre McBride who signed with Washington in temporary limbo. These players are going to try to make an NFL roster before deciding on an alternate course in their pro careers.

Most recently several NFL coaches like Sean Payton have gone on record stating that NFL rosters should be expanded. The practice squad rosters have expanded to 10 in the last decade, but coaches want to expand the current active roster of 53, the idea being so that they can dress more players for games. There may come a time when NFL rosters expand from 53 to 60. That day hasn’t arrived yet but it will hurt the player pool available to alternate pro football leagues.

The XFL is currently in the process of building up the organizations of each of their 8 city teams, as well as hiring head coaches. The next process will be intriguing, as it relates to the league attempting to sign their potential premiere 8 starting quarterbacks. Then comes the process of signing players to league contracts and putting them in a pool to be drafted to XFL teams. Where will the players come from? The pool of potential players is larger and vaster than it was back in 2001 but the competition is stiffer now for those players.

Another point, Oliver Luck has made in interviews is targeting the nearly 900 players who are cut in total by all 32 NFL teams in September. There will certainly be a lot of players available at that point but again, the AAF will be on the market place attempting to sign that same group of players, presumably coming off of their inaugural season where they have already built a name for their fledgling league. If the AAF is still around and the odds are decent that they will make it to year two, the XFL is going to have a challenge in signing those players to play in their league instead. Regardless of the pay. The competition is in selling agents that your league is the right avenue for their players. The XFL based on reputation alone, is going to have a hard time selling football agents on their league.

There are some tweaks that can be made to the game itself, as a way of improving the quality of play regardless of who the players are. The original XFL was defense friendly. All the games were played on grass, defenders were allowed to bump and run and make contact down the field until those rules were changed in mid-season. There was also the ability for defenders to hit offensive players any way they pleased, making it through an entire 10 game season as an XFL quarterback was nearly impossible in 2001. When the smoke cleared, only Tommy Maddox started and played the entire season without missing any time. The new XFL can be the exact opposite. It can be geared towards offenses. They can open up the game with the rules to create a faster looking game with more scoring than the original XFL had. You still need quality players but the new style will help in the presentation.

The original XFL had over a hundred players that had success in other leagues after they folded back in 2001. Some had success in the Arena league, some went on to very good success in the CFL but a good number of them went on to solid NFL careers like Tommy Maddox, Jose Cortez, Brendan Ayanbadjeo, Corey Ivy, Kevin Kaesviharn, Bennie Anderson, Rod Smart, Mike Furrey, Kelly Herndon, etc. Even still, with those players reviving or becoming NFL players as a result of the XFL, the league was still considered to be hindered by it’s poor quality of play. The current XFL braintrust is working hard towards to enhancing what ailed the original league but their task in improving the quality of play may be harder than it was back in 2001.

Vince McMahon’s United Football League

by Mike Mitchell @MikeMitchellXFL

“Vince McMahon announces XFL return in 2020.” It’s almost a year now since the big announcement made by Vince McMahon. The headline came very close to being much different.

“Vince McMahon returns to football with The United Football League.” This was almost the announcement made on January 25th of this year.

In 2017, Vince McMahon through his business holdings filed for the trademarks of The United Football League and the UrFL. This was months before VKM enterprises became Alpha Entertainment.

Since the spring of 2001, McMahon had not given up on a starting a football league again, but this time it would be under a new brand and a new vision. A stark contrast from the vision he had nearly two decades ago. The old XFL was dead and buried.

Can you really blame Vince McMahon for having second thoughts about reviving the XFL brand?

No league in the history of sports has the ridicule attached to it that the XFL does. The league where the X means nothing. The brand name itself is notorious but for all the wrong reasons. It’s a punch line, a big joke and is thought of as one of the biggest failures in the history of sports and television. The mainstream sports media and fans saw it as a joke back in 2001, and still to this day. One need not look too far to see the negativity attached to any news or commentary involving the XFL.

In a society where there are created narratives and where perception is the absolute reality. It’s very difficult to change or shake the negative perception that the XFL has attached to it. The league is paying for some of the sins of their past. The past is prologue. We can’t forget the lessons of it.

The biggest hurdle that the XFL is attempting to overcome is the negative stigma attached to it. For all the ardent supporters who think so fondly of the league, there are twice as many people who see the league and it’s attempt at a return as a joke. The XFL to them was everything that was wrong with society and sports. To them, it was trashy, classless, and designed to attract the lowest forms of society.

For all the negatives attached to the original XFL. There were more positives than the naysayers care to understand or even admit. Overlooking the fact that it extended football players and coaches careers, and created careers for future coaches/executives. The league was fan friendly, interactive, and innovative on the field and off. The league itself was way ahead of its time in engaging the fan and bringing them closer to the action than they have ever been.

Vince McMahon getting Oliver Luck to spearhead the new XFL and to follow his vision may have been McMahon’s best hire ever. For a league that is going to be in an uphill battle for credibility. Oliver Luck’s experience and success as an administrator, and in start-up leagues is an extremely valuable asset. The question asked by some naysayers when finding out that Luck is the CEO of the league is usually “Why is someone like him involved with this?”… Luck is respected in many circles and seeing his name attached to The XFL puzzles people. Oliver Luck himself had a negative viewpoint on the original XFL. Part of Oliver’s job is selling the public that The XFL needs to be taken seriously and that it’s going to be a league to be respected.

Everyone associated with the current XFL is going to be fighting the negative perception attached to the league. XFL Director of Player Personnel Eric Galko has even reached out to social media to ask people to have an open mind when it comes to the league. Galko is a respected figure in football circles as the head of Optimum Scouting. He is the director of scouting for YourCallFootball and The Dream Bowl. Galko’s job with the XFL extends beyond just providing teams with scouting reports on thousands of potential players. He is in a position where he has to sell agents and players that The XFL is a viable option. No such sell job needed with the CFL or even the AAF.

The prominent figures of the XFL are all in a position where they are not only selling the league to the public but also to the football community. That means getting players and coaches to buy into the league. It will not be an easy task despite the large amount of money that Vince McMahon is investing on his own.

Announcing prominent cities and stadiums as the league’s homes is not enough. A TV rights package will aid the league in being seen as a reality but it’s going to take a lot of convincing from Oliver Luck and his team, to get football players and coaches to buy in. Convincing them that The XFL is real and that it’s really going to happen and that the league is going to be a world class operation. This will be the difference in having quality play and not having it. If you just have to settle, for whomever will take a chance to be in your league rather than getting the best possible players and coaches under the circumstances.

The truth is that even if Vince McMahon had launched the new UFL this past January. It would have always been associated with and attached to The XFL name anyway. There’s no getting around that. That’s probably why McMahon decided to bring back the XFL name. There’s equity in the brand itself, even if the naysayers will not be treating the league with any type of equity. The XFL returns in name and spirit but the league is going to have a uniquely different resemblance and feel than the last time.

 

The cost of doing business in the XFL

by Mike Mitchell

Five-hundred million dollars. That’s the reported amount that Vince McMahon is investing into the league on his own. The funds are projected to be spent over the course of 3 years. It was initially reported that Vince McMahon would be spending 100 million dollars. When Oliver Luck was asked about this after he was initially hired, Luck said that this figure would only get them to the 20-yard line. The truth is that it takes at least 150 million dollars in expenses to start up and run an 8-team sports league. One of the reasons, Luck took the job was because of McMahon’s large capital investment. It’s something that Luck has cited in many interviews as to why the XFL has a chance to succeed in the long term.

A report was released recently that The AAF is hoping to raise 850 million dollars in funds over the course of their first 5 years. They are seeking investors. That’s a figure that they will need to reach if they hope to continue to have the league running and existing, because expenses in a league are very costly. When you don’t have reliable deep pocketed owners to fund each team. The league itself has to foot the bill for everything. That means everything from insurance, to travel expenses, to broadcast expenses, player and coach salaries, employee salaries, venue rent, technology costs, equipment, amenities, etc, etc, etc.

The pro football streets are filled with the corpses of past leagues who ran out of money. The USFL expanded way too soon. They had owners that were in over their heads and they didn’t have funds to pay their own players, or even feed them or provide them with equipment. They ran out of money and sued the NFL. They won a dollar and closed up shop. 

The NFL ran 15 seasons of their own spring pro football league. The World League stopped operations, was brought back, and became NFL Europe before being laid to rest in it’s final resting place as NFL Europa in 2007. The NFL lost 30 million per season trying to fund their very own developmental league. The NFL kept costs down and still lost roughly 450 million dollars. The NFL had revenue streams set up for their league but the expenses out weighed the profits earned. If they weren’t so smart, they would have probably lost more. 

The United Football League had the funds to start up a league but not enough to make it last. Billionaire William Hambrecht was the sole investor in the league. He got that league running with his own money. They started small with only a handful of teams. They even shelled out some money to pay for some name veteran football players and coaches. The league made several mistakes along the way. Playing in the fall on weekdays was one of them, the product itself was bland in presentation and the branding was poor. However, what ultimately killed The UFL was too much money going in, none coming back. There was no TV contract to help fund the league. No profits to speak of. They had to contract teams, relocate them and by the end. They couldn’t even pay their own players and coaches and had to cease operations. They are still being sued for money that they owe. 

Does it really cost that much to run a league? The answer is a resounding YES. Let’s breakdown what the costs will be and are for the XFL. 

The first major investment that The XFL made was getting sports risk insurance. These steps were taken before Vince McMahon made his relaunch announcement of the XFL. Without it, there would be no league. There are going to be over 400 football players employed with the XFL. In order to run a sports league, you need to have player insurance and invest in risk management and coverage. Vince McMahon needed to line this up before bringing back the XFL. The league has insurance deals with two of the biggest insurance-based companies in the country with The Berkley Group and The Fairly Group. Both groups work with all the top sports leagues and teams. This is a costly expenditure but an absolute necessity. No actual financial figures are available but this cost can be in the neighborhood of tens of millions of dollars. 

Let’s crunch some numbers;

XFL Player salaries have been revealed to the public. They are going to have 4 tiers of player salary. On a seasonal basis, the top tier players will be paid 250 to 300k per season. That may very well just be 8 quarterbacks. 1 for each team. Not counting win bonuses, which are returning to the league. The low-end figure of 250k would have the league’s quarterbacks totaling 2 million dollars for season 1. 

The lowest tier for players is expected to be 50 to 60k per season. Probably kicking specialists, long snappers and practice squad players that will be in that tier. The middle ground will be in the range of 75k to 100k per season. The second tier is expected to be in the 150 to 175k range. So to simplify all these numbers. Let’s assume that the average XFL player salary is 75k. The rosters themselves are supposed to be 45 players plus a 7-man practice squad. A 75k average would bring us to a team total salary cap of roughly 4 million per team. 

8 teams and that means that the league will have to shell out 32 million dollars to their players in year one. 

As reported, the head coaches are going to be paid roughly 500k per season. 8 head coaches and that brings that expenses to 4 million. XFL coaching staffs will not be as large as an NFL staff but there should be at least 10 assistants per team. From the coordinators to the positional coaches. Let’s assume that the average pay for assistant coaches is 200k. Counting the head coach’s salary. Each team staff would end up costing 2.5 million per team. Average that out over 8 teams and the cost of the league’s coaching staff expenses is 20 million.

So the combination of the player and coaching salaries for the 2020 season is 52 million dollars. That’s a conservative figure. 8 teams, 32 million for the players and 20 million for the coaching staffs. 

Figuring out team/league employees like trainers, presidents, office staff, marketing, equipment, pr, ticket sales, nutritionists and other employee salaries is a difficult thing to project. The team presidents themselves will make the same or more than the actual head coach. It’s also not taking into account XFL employees like the referees and the salaries of XFL employees like Oliver Luck, Doug Whaley, Sam Schwartzstein, the entire legal staff, etc.

Details were recently released of the agreement that The XFL made with St. Louis to rent out their dome for the upcoming 2020 season. The XFL paid 250,000 down. They then agreed to pay 100,000 per game. That’s 750,000 to rent the venue. The league will receive 100 percent of the ticket sales, minus taxes. However, the city will receive 100 percent of all revenue from concession and catering sales. This goes to show you how costly it can be just to rent these venues out. It’s safe to state that every XFL city didn’t get this sweet of a deal but they are probably all in this neighborhood. Renting world class venues are an expensive expenditure for sports teams/leagues. 

Probably the biggest expense the league will have to make in order to stand out from the crowd is their broadcast expenses. It costs Vince McMahon’s parent company the WWE hundreds of thousands of dollars to run two weekly live broadcasts each week. The XFL was innovative in this field almost 2 decades ago and figures to try and change the game yet again. Sure, the league will have broadcast partners to aid with this but The XFL is going to be implementing a lot of new technology. 4 games are going to be broadcast each week. It’s going to cost the league a lot to air and produce these games. Over the course of a 12-week season, it ends up being 43 games counting the 3 playoff games. It’s hard to put a real figure on what the overall cost will be to produce these games but even if you are on the frugal end, you end up spending millions of dollars over the course of a full season. There’s also travel expenses for all the teams and employees for these games. 

The cost of doing business for year one of The XFL is probably going to be in that 100-150 million-dollar range. This is without a single cent being earned. How does a league see a return on their investment?  Well they probably won’t in year one. They just need to see enough of a return to survive for year 2. 

As far as attendance goes. If the league’s conservative projection of a 20,000 average holds true. 43 games and that would bring the attendance total to 860,000. If the average ticket price is 35 dollars. The return on that would be a little over 30 million dollars. A decent figure but not enough to cover for all the expenses. 

The whole key to surviving and seeing a return on the yearly expenses is going to ultimately be the league’s tv rights package. It’s the bank. It’s where all the money is. Without it, the league dies again…. Quite frankly, it’s the reason that the XFL went after 8 of the top 20 TV markets. There’s more money to be made on the TV side with their current markets than there would have been in smaller markets like Salt Lake for example. 

What will The XFL rights deal look like and what could it be? This is hard to project but we can go through some figures. You can’t compare a league like The XFL to established properties like NASCAR, the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB. It’s very different. It’s hard as a start-up league to command top dollar. The closest leagues, you can compare The XFL to in terms of potential viewership is the WNBA and MLS. It’s debatable that The XFL can get similar TV deals but we are going to find out soon enough. Here’s an idea of what similar leagues tv deals look like. 

* ESPN and Fox pay 75 million per year to MLS. The national broadcasts for MLS average about 500 thousand viewers. With the exception of games against Mexico, which usually exceed 2 million. 

* ESPN pays The WNBA 12 million per year. This league averages about 200 to 250 thousand viewers per game during the playoffs.

Will a network be willing to make a long term tv deal with The XFL? Something tells me that networks will not extend past 3 years. The deal might end up being a prove it type deal. If The XFL can get closer to the MLS deal than the WNBA deal, than they are really in business. They need to be in that 20 million plus range. Landing a deal with multiple broadcasters could help. They could plant the seed to recoup money down the road. The XFL could get more out of their tv deal by leveraging streaming. They can then use the tv exposure to make more money on advertising and all other potential revenue streams for the league. It’s the only way a league can survive. 

All start-up leagues lose money. That financial bear starts chasing everyone. You don’t have to be faster than the bear. You just have to be faster than the guy that the bear is chasing.

Why becoming a developmental league for The NFL is a recipe for failure

by Mike Mitchell

Minor league football doesn’t work. Developmental leagues don’t work. A farm system football league won’t generate mass interest. By mere design, they go against the competitive league structure that fans clamor for. Could that come off as a blanket statement? Perhaps, but let’s delve into this a little deeper.

By default, any pro football league that is not the NFL can be considered as one of their unofficial developmental leagues. From the CFL to the upcoming AAF and XFL. No affiliation needed, just reality. In truth, the NFL already has a developmental league. It’s called NCAA College Football.

The NFL itself once had a spring pro football league that was designed to be a farm system for them. First called The World League of American Football, then shut down and re-branded as NFL Europe before closing up shop as NFL Europa in 2007. This league had NFL money backing it, players allocated from the NFL to play in it and yet it lost hundreds of millions of dollars. In truth, it was quality football and produced good to very good players. Most football fans know the story of Kurt Warner and Adam Vinatieri. The league even had decent exposure on ABC, FOX and The NFL Network among others. It just never captured the interest of football fans on a large scale.

So why didn’t it work? It’s simple, the games and the teams. If the fans don’t have a rooting interest in either, you don’t have a profitable league. So, what went wrong? The most important element of any sporting event is getting people to care about the outcome of the games. It’s not rocket science. It comes down to, “Do you care who wins or loses?”

In NFL Europe, the outcomes weren’t important. The games were often times treated like NFL preseason games. Quarterbacks would rotate in and out. Other positional players would share playing time. All in an effort to get players on game film for evaluation. That’s great for coaches, players and NFL teams but from a spectator standpoint, the games itself lose all meaning. That’s what you get from a developmental league. The viewing public sees the games as not being important because the actual outcomes are not. Any league that promotes itself as a minor league, it will in turn be treated as such.

Why has the CFL worked and survived all this time? Besides the fact that it is in another country. It’s because of the fans and the league itself. The CFL presents its own brand of pro football. It’s not a carbon copy or a lesser minor league version of the NFL. It has its own endearing qualities. The league has tradition and fan bases that are passionate and care about their teams winning and losing. They have the recipe for a league with a true competitive structure.

There’s nothing wrong with minor league sports. In fact, there is a lot to love about them. It provides players, coaches, officials and team employees, the opportunity to keep their dream of working in the big leagues alive. Great for those people but when it comes to appealing to the mass public, you come off as just that minor.

As for the AAF, under Bill Polian’s guidance and influence their main goal is to become a feeder system/developmental league for The NFL. That’s his end game. The rebirth of NFLE in the states. Get the NFL to endorse the AAF and back the league financially. Other leagues have had this vision and idea. The defunct UFL after looking like they would attempt to capitalize on the NFL’s labor issues, entertained the possibility of becoming a developmental league. The defunct FXFL run by Brian Woods positioned themselves with the premise of being just that for the NFL. Woods closed up shop and now runs The Spring League. A different yet more cost-effective way of giving prospective pro players a shot to go to the NFL or get back into the league.

The new spring pro-football leagues, the XFL and AAF, are going to provide great opportunity for prospective pro players. Considering the fact that in 2017, despite the fact over 16,000 college football players were eligible for the NFL draft, only 253 players were drafted. Some of the undrafted made their way to the league as college free agents, but we are talking about over 15,000 college football players with no chance to become pro-football players.

This is all good but positioning and promoting yourself as a minor developmental league is the kiss of death. What football personnel want is a developmental league, what football fans want is a strong alternative to the NFL and for something to fill the void when the NFL and NCAA seasons have ended. That’s the whole point of a spring pro football league. To appeal to die-hard football fans when there is NO FOOTBALL.

It’s what the original USFL had going for it, before it was mismanaged greatly on several fronts. The USFL had its own unique feel and felt like a legit pro sports league. There were fans who embraced the teams and players and speak glowingly of that fan feel for the league to this very day, three decades later.

How does a league achieve that type of fan connection? You do it by taking what the NFL and NCAA does well and try to make it better. You take what they don’t do well and improve upon it. You present an exciting new brand of football that innovates on the field and on the broadcast level. Present the league as being something major, exciting and on the cutting edge. Make fans care about the teams and games.

The XFL and AAF have both taken public stances where they are not adversarial to the NFL. This is a good thing. You don’t want to alienate the die-hard NFL fans and supporters. They are the consumers that you are targeting after all. You also don’t want to get the mainstream sports media against you. The original XFL riled up supporters by taking shots at the NFL and boasted about bringing smash-mouth football back. There were some things that they innovated like broadcasting interviews with players to the stadium live, the sky cam and the “bubba cam” but the XFL made a lot of enemies with their renegade league approach. There is still joy to this day from people that they failed in 2001.

Both The AAF and XFL have to take the approach of trying to present the best possible football leagues that they can. It’s the only chance they have to be taken seriously. On the field and off. If in any way, they come off as minor league. They will be ignored. Best case scenario? If the AAF becomes the NFL’s version of the NBA’s Gatorade League. (Yes, that’s what it’s called now). Then, they will exist but who will even notice or care.

 

XFL 2020 Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the XFL launching?

An opportunity exists to re-imagine America’s favorite sport by putting fans at the center, while leveraging a changing media landscape and evolving consumer viewing behavior.

Who owns and runs the XFL?

Vince McMahon is personally funding this venture through Alpha Entertainment, a new private entity.

Will teams be owned by the league or will teams be owned and run by independent entities?

The new XFL is a single entity structure with plans for eight teams at launch, all of which will be owned by the league.

When is the XFL launching?

The new XFL is scheduled to launch in early 2020.

Where will teams be located?

The selection of cities will take place over the coming months, and a mix of major and mid-major markets in all regions of the U.S. are possibilities.

Have team nicknames been determined?

Team identities and logos will be revealed after cities are selected.

When will games be played?

Games are being planned for Sundays.

How many games will be played? What’s the postseason structure?

Plans include each team playing a 10-game regular season, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal games followed by a championship game.

How big will team rosters be?

Active rosters will have approximately 40 players.

What will players’ salary structure look like?

The players’ salary structure is still in development, but players will be paid to play, and paid more to win.

Will there be testing for illicit drugs and PEDs?

The XFL’s comprehensive player health and wellness policy will include drug testing.

Reference: XFL.com

Why would anyone think TO is suitable for the XFL?

It came as no suprise to see that “The Sporting News” has asked Terrel Owens if he would play in the XFL.  After all, the media is all about generating clicks, and a Terrel Owens story has to generate a few just on name recognition alone. However, Owen’s response was quite predictable.

“Absolutely not,” Owens told Sporting News on Wednesday. “The XFL is two years away. Vince McMahon, he had a run at that in 2001 and it didn’t really do so well. He’s had a number of years to try to figure it out, and has only two years before it starts up to put it back on the right track.  I don’t foresee it being a great success unless they make some drastic changes to bring together some quality talent and bring together a quality game. That’s what it’s about. He can’t make a mockery of football. He’s looking at it like a business, but you need to have quality with that.” Reference: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/terrell-owens-xfl-return-vince-mcmahon-wide-receiver/bmhztel2bujp1wt46ztslnx7h

Why would anyone think that a 44-year old Terrel Owens was a candidate for the XFL? Sure, he’ s fit, but there are plenty of talented 20-year olds that will be more than suitable for play in the XFL.

Categorize this story as “bashing the XFL”. We’ve seen it before, and we will see plenty more  between now and 2020.

That being said, you’d think TO would be happy to see increased opportunities for young football talent to play the game we all love.

XFL Announcement Conference Call

Below is a written transcript of the XFL Conference Call done with reporters on 25 Jan 2018.

Questions are in bold, with Vince McMahon’s answer, in italics.

  1. Brian Fritz, Sporting News: Vince, I guess the big question now is why do you believe now is the right time to bring back the XFL?
    • Well, football is America’s favourite sport. There is 7 months of no football, and uh, there is 70 million fans, so why not now? Now is a perfect opportunity. I’ve always wanted to bring it back.
  2. What do you think of a lesson you learned from the first time you did the XFL to what you will do now
    • Well I think the most important thing we learned with the older XFL and now the new XFL is the quality of the play. But frankly, we only had a short time in the past to put everything together. We have two years now to really get it right. It’s the quality of the play.
  3. Joe Flint, Wall Street Journal: Hi, Vince talk a little about your media plans. Will you be looking to put this, offer this as a package to the broadcast or cable networks? Or for your own streaming service? What do you think there?
    • Well again, as we reimagine the game we re-imagine the way we distribute the game. I think it’s important to consider the standard way we do this. I also think it’s important to consider the new way, so it’ll probably gonna be a combination of any number of forms of presentation.
  4. Have you had any initial talks with anyone?
    • No, no initial talks not really. We just know interest is there
  5. Brian Campbell, CBS Sports: How will this announcement affect your day to day control of creative decisions of WWE?
    • It won’t affect it at all.
  6. Will you be staying in the same role completely?
    • Yes I will continue to be the CEO and Chairman of the board of WWE.
  7. What type of opportunities do you see available for WWE talent, broadcasters, wrestlers to cross over between brands
    • Thank you for asking, there will be no crossover whatsoever in terms of talent or anything like that from the WWE to the new XFL
  8. Darren Rovell, ESPN: I guess the question I have is what is your role as far as being out in front? Obviously you had a presence in 2001. What will people see of you?
    • Quite frankly this may be the last you see of me in terms of being out front. We’re gonna hire people who really know what they are doing. It won’t be me.
  9. Chris Palmeri, Bloomberg News: Can you say if the controversy about bending knee and the ratings slump that the NFL has had, seeing it play a role in you launching this now?
    • No, I’ve always wanted to relaunch, and have this plan for sometime
  10. Why are you not doing it this time through the WWE?
    • Quite frankly, 100 million dollars to start with is too rich for WWE as far as investments concern
  11. Paul Newberry, AP: I assume this will be the same timeframe you mentioned out of season I assume a spring league with the same timeframe as the old XFL?
    • There will be a spring league, it’ll start end of January, early February and play through. Not exactly a spring league.
  12. Neil Best, Newsday: In terms of the ownership model, will it be franchise or owned all 8 teams? Any idea what cities will be involved?
    • It’ll be single entity, we’re not gonna have the franchise model. We are way away from announcing cities. We are doing research as cities concern, and that’ll be something we announce in the future.
  13. Emma Ockerman, Bloomberg News: I wanted to ask, I know that data analysis and research have been a big part of expanding the WWE Network. Can you explain a little bit about the research backing the demanding of the XFL?
    • Yes, well I’m not gonna make reference to any research that makes reference to WWE, and we’ll get into the research and what have you going forward. We have done a lot of it thus far, with more to come in terms of putting all of this together.
  14. Jackie Waddel, CNN: My question is about concussions and CTE. Obviously this is a huge point of concern with the NFL right now, and getting attention amount fans and the general public. Do you have any plans or ideas about how your going to keep players safe?
    • Reimagining the game of football means you are reimagining it on all levels. This means safety and we will make it as safe as possible. It’s still football, but we will make it as safe as possible.
  15. Any specific measures that you can say?
    • No, not anything specifically except we’re gonna bring in experts in these fields. We’re gonna listen to medical experts and (?) their advice.
  16. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union Tribune: Will President Trump support this in any way even if it’s just with statements? And can you speak to San Diego as a market?
    • I have no idea whether or not President Trump will support this, and let me use this as an opportunity to say that as far as our league is concerned, it’ll have nothing to do with politics. Absolutely nothing to do with social issues either. We’re there to play football. We want really good football. When they tune in, I don’t know they want political issues. They want good football, and that’s what we are going to deliver. And as far as San Diego is concerned, we don’t know yet.
  17. Richard Deitsch, SI: Vince, why are you not concerned with there being oversaturation of football as a product, with the NFL to college football, to CFL to arena league.
    • There’s 7 months where there is no football on the grid iron, and I think if the demand is there, and as well I think the quality of the play. This is going to be a different game, a fan centric game. It will be faster, it will just be a better football game than what everyone else is accustomed to. I think we are going to make our own demand.
  18. John Lassiete: Are you going to suspend players if they have a political opinion, is there going to be no free speech?
    • Well I think this: You know the rules and regulations, as I mentioned. Your gonna have a booklet, whatever it is to make sure all the players understand the rules, as well as everyone else. We intend for everyone to abide by those rules. As the national anthem is concerned which is where you might be going now, I think this: The national anthem is a time honoured tradition, and it played to this day and many many years in the past prior to most athletic events. In our country and other countries. So whatever our rules are, is whatever everyone will abide by. There is plenty of opportunity that the players and coaches can express themselves in terms of personal views as far as social aspects are concerned. Whether it’s Facebook or whatever. But again, we are here to play football. That’s everyone’s job.
  19. Roger Simmons, Atlanta Sentinel: Could you tell us, do you have in your mind a criteria the type of cities you are looking for? Cities that don’t have an NFL franchise?
    • That’s not the criteria. We’re gonna go where fans want us to go. Where there is more interest, and of course there is a lot of factors. We are nowhere near that right now.
  20. John Shumway, KDKA TV Pittsburgh: Are you going to be targeting places that already had the existing NFL type of facilities?
    • Without a doubt, you wanna play football where football is played. And the stadiums. There may be a situation where we play a baseball stadium when a football stadium isn’t available in that market, but nonetheless the intent is the play most specifically where other NFL teams play?
  21. Is Pittsburgh on your radar?
    • Every city, I love Pittsburgh. Every city is on our radar.
  22. John Healy, New York Daily News: You said you wanted to make the game safe, but you also want to make it faster. Is this time to bring back any bigger hits? How are you going to make it possible if it’s gonna be a faster game?
    • Well again, I think that there may not be a halftime for one example, we’re gonna listen to football experts. Their gonna tell us. The goal is to make it a much faster game. Sitting and watching a much faster game is leborious sometimes, sometimes it’s not depending on the quality of the play. But, we intend to have a much faster game. We’re gonna try to get to two hours, that’s our goal. That’s an experience that I think most people would enjoy and it doesn’t take up too much of their time.
  23. Steve Feitl, Asbury Park Press: Obviously the XFL was in the headlines last year when the ESPN documentary came out early in the year. Did the reaction to that play into this decision at all?
    • No, we have been thinking about doing the XFL for many many years. I do think Charlie Ebersol did a great job capturing the interest and the appreciation for each other that Dick Ebersol and I have had and have today. He’s a wonderful human being and we had a blast together in the old XFL.
  24. Did you have any thoughts to giving it a different name this time around?
    • Um, we did, but we kept coming back to the equity of the XFL from a marketing standpoint it was already there. We think it’s a cool name.
  25. Neil Docking, The Daily Mirror: You mentioned there is no TV partner as of yet, will you be looking to have a social media streaming component? And are you exploring broadcasting the product internationally, in the UK for example where there is a growing audience?
    • Yes, I think again, all options are available to us. And I think that’s something that was never there before. We can do any number of things, or a combination of things as well. In terms of traditional platforms, as well as digital and what have you. So, there are many options that are available to us that weren’t before. And again, by simplifying the rules, it makes the XFL (a) more global friendly environment.
  26. Tony Maglio, The Wrap: Just a clarification, will you allow nicknames on the back of jerseys like He Hate Me, and number two ‘cause you mentioned the national anthem thing, just to clarify, will it be in the rules that you have to stand for the national anthem?
    • Well first question I’m not sure about the individuality of the He Hate Me, we’re not there yet, but it’s amazing that people remember that, Rod Smart. That was extraordinary. Whether we do that again, we are gonna listen to football experts, we’re gonna listen to what the audience, what the fans want. As far as the national anthem is concerned, I think again it’s a time honoured tradition to stand and appreciate the national anthem with any sport. In any country they do that, so I think it would be appropriate if we did that.
  27. Ryan Wooley, News Radio 950: You mentioned about streaming the games and the broadcast network, is there a specific network you want to place it on? Is there a specific broadcasting team, national announcers? Local guys? How is that gonna work?
    • That’s all to be determined. There’s interest with everyone. There’s interest in traditional networks, there’s interested in a lot of areas. And again, we can have a different feed and different customized feed for anyone. By doing that, you can appeal to the older audience, and a younger audience as well. You can give them what they want and how they want it.
  28. You say your still looking for teams and places to place the teams, do you see old teams coming back? Or will everything be all new?
    • I think everything will be all new, but if theres something from the past that you want to bring back, we aren’t constrained to do that. We are reimagining the XFL as well.
  29. Jimmie Traina, SI.com: Will any invites be submitted to players like Johnny Maziel, Tim Tebow, Colin Kaepernick?
    • Well I think this, that one of the things that I said was the quality of the human being is very important and just as important as the quality of the player, what I mean by that is you want someone who does not have any criminality whatsoever associating with them. In the XFL, even if you have a DUI, you will not play in the XFL. That will probably eliminate some of them, not all of them. If Tim Tebow wants to play, he could very well play.
  30. Rob Wollard, AFP: Could you clarify on the players that will be allowed to play in the league, would Colin Kaepernick be welcome in the league?
    • Again I think anyone who plays the game of football well and meets our criteria in terms of the quality of the human being as well as the player, why not? As long as everyone abides by the rules as laid down.
  31. Just to clarify, you would have to standing during the national anthem?
    • Your gonna know them (the rules) before you sign on to the XFL, so I assume anyone who signs on is going to abide by those rules.
  32. Jim Varsallone, Miami Herald: Any thought with broadcasting with Jim Ross, Jessie Ventura, do you know if there will be a crossover?
    • There will be no crossover whatsoever.
  33. Justin Barrasso: What drives you for this process?
    • I think this: I’m gonna hire professionals, people who really know what they are doing. I’m gonna take a backseat to that, I’m not gonna be out front.
  34. Did you seek her opinion (Linda McMahon) on this decision?
    • No.
  35. Will there be specific differences on the field between the XFL and the NFL?
    • I think there will be a lot of differences. The big difference will be what do the fans want.

(Transcript reference: http://www.wrestlingheads.com/?p=18381)